With the upcoming release of Nike’s $350 Adapt BB, self-lacing shoes are set to become more commonplace, and Puma isn’t about to let its rival take all the credit. After all, the German company showed off its own self-lacing sneaker, the Autodisc, back in 2015 — around the same time as Nike’s iconic (and ultra rare) Mag before it evolved into the HyperAdapt. The only problem was the Autodisc just wasn’t practical enough to enter retail — it was too expensive, too heavy and could have been more comfortable. But that’s about to change with Puma’s latest creation, the Fi (pronounced as “F-I” aka “Fit Intelligence”).
The motor is hooked up to a simple network of blue Dyneema strings — the same tough material used in defense and commercial fishing industries — shrouded around the middle of the shoe. There’s a removable battery tucked inside a water-resistant (but not waterproof!) compartment in the midsole, and you can juice it up by placing the shoes’ heels on the small Qi wireless, or take it out and put it in the dual battery charging case — a thoughtful alternative to suit travel needs.
The Fi’s motor is much smaller than the Autodisc’s, but it’s based on the same mechanical principles. Thanks to the addition of a tongue, the Fi looks and feels a lot more like an ordinary sneaker than its slip-on predecessor. I even let a few of my colleagues with similar shoe sizes as me try my pair on, and they all agreed that they’re comfortable. It’s also much easier to operate the Fi’s motor now that Puma has implemented swipe input on the module, as opposed to using soft buttons which didn’t feel great.
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